Last month we held our fourth annual Mother's Day celebrations at Cadaniño.
Ministry to the parents of our students is an integral part of the work we do serving the vulnerable, and we have found that special occasions like this are an excellent way of doing so.
The lives of most of those we serve are tough. More so for the mothers. Many of the children we serve come from broken families and are supported by single mothers who struggle to provide for their families. They live in tin shacks with few comforts and work hard for limited wages or hustle to sell food or resale whatever they can acquire to meet their children's needs.
It's the hardest of hard lives.
At Cadaniño we desire to help our students discover and develop their God-given gifts and abilities so they can break the cycles of spiritual and physical poverty into which they are born.
It's a long-term view of change, which sometimes means accepting the limitations of what we can do for the families of our students in their current state. We know that even though we can't fix all their physical challenges today, we can support, encourage and love the mothers so they can carry on being there for their children.
This year's theme for our event was "Planted, not Buried." In addition to special breakfast, gifts, games, worship, and prayer, we were blessed to have a local pastor's wife come and share the message; here are a few key excerpts from it:
"We all understand the weight of anxiety and worry. It can feel like being overwhelmed by a massive wave or facing an insurmountable wall. The book of Lamentations in the Bible acknowledges these emotions. Jeremiah, the prophet, shares his deep pain and loss, feeling crushed and hopeless.
Yet, despite the despair, God never allows the loss to be the end. Even the most profound losses can be transformed into something fruitful by God. The places of our pain can become opportunities for God's work to manifest in and through us. We find hope in the unending love and compassion of the Lord, which renews every morning. Trusting in God, we wait for Him.
In the company of Christ and His promises, what seems like death can become an opportunity for new beginnings. Just as a seed must die to bear much fruit, Jesus can take our pain and turn it into blessings. We trust in Him, for blessed are those who trust in the Lord.
Everyone's journey is different, just as different seeds take varying amounts of time to grow and bear fruit. We must constantly seek the light of the world, Jesus, just as plants seek sunlight for proper growth. We have a perspective of life and growth in Him, not death. Our minds are transformed, allowing us to discern God's good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Throughout the Bible, we see how God turns evil intentions into good. Joseph's betrayal led to the salvation of his family. Moses, Daniel, and Esther's captivity served God's plan. Jesus' death on the cross brought judgment on sin and resurrection. Difficulties bring gifts, and our pain can become a gift to the world. God's grace and calling are perfect, affirm, strengthen, and establish us.
Planting seeds doesn't guarantee immediate results, and following Jesus requires patience for the harvest. Our losses are real but not final. They don't define us. Sometimes we go through dark times that can feel like a burial, but God knows it's not a burial but a planting. It is Him, the Sower that makes the difference! When He comes into our hearts, it's not buried lives but seeds planted to burst forth into a harvest that bears fruit. And if we, like sunflowers, can learn to reach out and keep our face toward the sun, God can use our lives to bring about beauty and bear much fruit!"
These words of encouragement were incredibly comforting, and many commented that it was exactly what they needed to hear.
One thing that made this event extra special was the participation of the young adult group from Casa de Libertad, our local church. For the second year in a row, they raised funds for the event, helped serve the mothers, and, most importantly, spent time personally encouraging them.
Lili, our coordinator from the San Jose Pinula center, had the following to say:
"The Mother's Day celebration was a remarkable event that left a lasting impact on the attendees. It was a day that demonstrated to all that God has a love for them, and it embodied the power of people coming together unified in service to others to spread a message of salvation and hope.
It was incredibly empowering for the mothers. So many expressed how they felt loved and appreciated on this special day. They were touched by the willingness of all the young people they didn't know, who came from church to serve them, and they saw it as a great reflection of God has love for them.
The message really had an impact and was an encouragement to them. Outreaches like this are a blessing in their lives, help renew their spirits, provide an opportunity for people to serve, and demonstrate what we believe as followers of Christ.
Please continue to pray for these mothers that they may guide their children in the light of God's word and find refuge, hope, and comfort in Him. They have the power to shape future generations and need our prayers to support them in their calling."
Pablo, one of our Youth Pastors, had the following to say about the event:
"We had remarkable Mother's Day celebrations this year. Cadaniño serves families facing immense hardships, including absent parents, poverty, and insecurity. Despite these challenges, parents want the best for their children, and that is why so many of them are in our programs.
The activity provided a platform to share the Gospel and offered hope amidst difficult seasons.
The theme of the event, "Planted, not buried," was inspired by Jeremiah 17:7-8, emphasizing the blessings of trusting the Lord. We hoped this message could inspire hope and remind families that God can transform hardship into opportunities for growth and fruitfulness.
Almost all the mothers attended the celebrations, enjoying breakfast, playing games, and being ministered to through God's word. The heartfelt gifts prepared by their children brought joy and surprise to them. The seeds sown during this event will continue to grow in their hearts and lives, and we look forward to following up with the parents through weekly home visits."
These Mother's Day celebrations were a powerful testimony to the parents of God's love for them. Through the message of hope and transformation, we witnessed the impact of God's word in their lives. Please pray for us and our team as we continue ministering to the mothers, encouraging them in their incredibly important job, and guiding them to a personal relationship with their heavenly Father.
Please consider partnering with us as as we serve the vulnerable in Guatemala.